Australia news live update: NSW and Victoria each record 21 Covid deaths; cases in hospital top 3,700; $1,000 fines in NSW for not reporting positive RATs















The ACTU secretary, Sally McManus, says we’re “not even started” with the supply chain crisis that is gripping Australian industry due to people being off work because of the Omicron wave.

She points out that construction workers are currently on holidays across the sector, which is Australia’s second biggest industry, and they’re due to come back to work next month, just as Omicron is predicted to peak.




The ACTU’s Sally McManus

The ACTU’s Sally McManus says we’re ‘not even started’ with the supply chain crisis. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

This will also roughly coincide with a post-school holidays return to work (and school) for many people at a time when there are concerns about children being unvaccinated.

McManus says:


Tied to the construction industry is a massive amount of jobs, so a lot of manufacturing to make, you know, everything you need, so everything from carpets all the way through.

So all of those places have yet to be hit by the same issue. And that’s around the same time the peak of the infections are meant to be happening.

You can read more about the crisis in our most recent piece here:

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Job vacancies soar across Australia

Job vacancies soared across the country in the September-November period, jumping almost a fifth or 18.5% from the previous three months, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said today.

At 396,100, the vacancies nationwide were 74% higher than at the start of the pandemic, Bjorn Jarvis, the head of ABS’s labour statistics unit, said. He added:


These figures continue to show the high demand for workers from businesses emerging from lockdowns, together with ongoing labour shortages, particularly in lower-paying industries.




A retail store displaying a job vacancy sign in central Sydney

A retail store displaying a job vacancy sign in central Sydney. Photograph: Steven Saphore/Reuters

In fact, all sectors of the economy reported higher vacancies, led by the private sector with job openings at 361,700, or up 19.4% from August. Public sector job vacancies were up 9.7%. Jarvis said:


Job vacancies were also elevated in all states and territories, ranging between Western Australia, where job vacancies were 120% higher than before the pandemic, and 49% in the Australian Capital Territory.

Arts and recreation, and accommodation and food services had the biggest increases in job openings, rising about 260% and 210%, compared with February 2020 before Covid got going.

Those numbers, of course, are somewhat dated as the Omicron Covid strain has created fresh distortions to society in general, and of course the economy. Still, they point to a scramble to find workers before the new Covid wave, and hint at why many industries were already struggling to find appropriate staff before the latest turmoil landed.

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Queensland records 22,069 new Covid cases

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